City Beat

It’s short, but a new bike trail is coming to the American River

Parks director Chris Conlin and senior parks planner Raymond Costantino walk on a trail at Sutter’s Landing Regional Park on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif. The trail is set to become a paved path that someday will run all the way to Sacramento State.
Parks director Chris Conlin and senior parks planner Raymond Costantino walk on a trail at Sutter’s Landing Regional Park on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif. The trail is set to become a paved path that someday will run all the way to Sacramento State. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Piece by small piece, a new trail is being built along the American River.

The Sacramento City Council is set to approve a contract later this month to construct a paved trail running three-quarters of a mile from Sutter’s Landing Park in midtown.

The new stretch will be constructed on the stone trail running from a skate park at Sutter’s Landing to a railroad trestle near the Capital City Freeway. The $937,952 contract under consideration by the council also includes bike racks, benches and “three acres of habitat restoration on the banks of the American River with native understory vegetation,” according to a city staff report. The council will vote on the contract at its July 18 meeting.

City officials have been working for years to install a paved trail running from Sutter’s Landing at 28th and B streets to the California State University, Sacramento, campus. The bike trail in the American River Parkway runs along the river’s north bank, but an improved trail on the south shore would provide students and bicycle commuters from East Sacramento and River Park easier access to midtown and downtown.

Councilman Jeff Harris, who represents East Sacramento and Sutter’s Landing, said the work expected to be approved this month is the culmination of two years worth of environmental and engineering work.

“It’s finally coming to pass,” he said.

Next up: extending the trail nearly two more miles to the Sacramento State campus. That project requires another round of environmental and engineering studies.

It will also require another $2 million, Harris said. The councilman said he is looking for that money now and may pursue it in next year’s city budget.

“It’s coming along, but it’s a big project,” Harris said.

Building paved bicycle and pedestrian trails along Sacramento’s rivers has been a tough challenge for years.

Much of the Sacramento River in the Pocket and Greenhaven neighborhoods is cut off from public use. Dozens of homes maintain private easements to the river’s shore and fences along the levee restrict access.

The City Council approved $2.3 million in its budget in June to purchase easements from homeowners along the Sacramento River in the Pocket with the hopes of one day building a paved trail. But some riverfront homeowners remain reluctant to sell their riverfront rights and are concerned that their properties will be susceptible to crime if a public bike trail opens behind their homes.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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